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Is There A Lack Of Diversity in Information Technology?

[ Note: I wrote this paper for a business psychology course a few years ago. I need to revisit this article to see how the numbers stack up with current industry-wide statistics. -- Ben ]

From my experience working in the information technology (IT) field the last 10 years, I feel that lack of diversity is still a big problem in IT. My anecdotal experience is that minorities, and to a lesser extent women, are under-represented in IT as a whole.The amount of under-representation varies depending on which area of IT you look at, and can range from near parity in some areas to a much higher level of under-representation in other areas. .

This paper looks at the hypothesis that minorities are under-represented in the IT field. Is just an inaccurate perception or is it reality backed by cold, hard facts? The answer to the diversity question is very important because it directly affects how the employees feel about their company and managers they work for as well as the co-workers they work with.

While the course textbook (People at Work, Human Behavior in Organizations, 5th ed.) correctly points out that many companies are implementing programs aimed at increasing diversity, some feel that the IT industry is not doing enough. As more companies adopt diversity policies, managers will have to deal with this critical issue more and more in the future.

To try to find out if there is something to this hypothesis, I will do my research on the Internet, the biggest IT innovation of the Information Age. During that period, the Internet has moved from what was once a purely academic/research affair to today's overcommericalized wasteland. I was interested to see if sufficient high quality source material to adequately answer this question was available on the Internet.

The articles I chose are from Computerworld, one of the leading journals covering the IT industry. While Computerworld mainly deals with technical and IT industry issues, occasionally it will have a special report that deals with the human side of computer technology.

The two articles I have chosen lend credence to my assertion that diversity has yet to take full force in IT The first article, written in 2000, paints a bleak picture, but the second article, written just this year, seems to lend some hope that things are improving, albeit slowly.

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